Women & Children

Best six female MMA fighters of all time

Story Highlights
  • Amanda Nunes
  • Cris Cyborg
  • Ronda Rousey
  • Joanna Jędrzejczyk
  • Marloes Coenen
  • Valentina Shevchenko

In the previous two decades, MMA has skyrocketed in popularity, becoming one of the most-watched sports on the planet. The excellence of the warriors is the driving force behind this explosive expansion. Few legends have emerged in women’s mixed martial arts, but these six athletes are unquestionably the finest of all time.

Amanda Nunes

In 2016, Amanda Nunes began her meteoric climb by ending Shayna Bazler’s undefeated 12-fight run. Previously, in her first five UFC bouts, Strike Force and Invicta FC veteran Nunes had a 3-2 record. In the years after that victory in 2015, the Brazilian fighter defeated some of the sport’s greatest names, including Ronda Rousey, Valentina Shevchenko, and Holly Holm. Despite losing to Julianna Pea in an upset in 2021, it seems like Nunes will continue to dominate MMA.

Cris Cyborg

Another Brazilian, Cris Cyborg, holds the number two spot on the all-time list of the greatest women’s mixed martial arts fighters. Cyborg suffered her first defeat in 2005, but she has since won 21 consecutive bouts, five of which have been in the UFC. Her most recent victory was at UFC 219 when she defeated Holly Holm. Her 2018 fight with Brazilian Amanda Nunes was her first defeat in the UFC and her second loss overall. The fight was a knockout that lasted less than a minute. She went on to win another five matches after that defeat, improving her overall record to 25-2.

Ronda Rousey

Ronda Rousey, a real icon of mixed martial arts, has been called “one of the most influential athletes of the 21st century” by several publications and organizations. Beginning her career with Strikeforce, she quickly amassed a perfect 6-for-6 record and eventually won the bantamweight title. Rousey made history in the MMA world when she signed with the UFC in 2012 as the first female competitor. Between 2013 and 2015, she had a record of 6-for-1 in MMA bouts, establishing her case as one of the sport’s all-time top female competitors. However, after defeating Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes, Rousey opted to join the WWE and compete under the ring moniker “Rowdy.”

Joanna Jędrzejczyk

Joanna Jedrzejczyk has a Muay Thai background, much like Cris Cyborg. Jedrzejczyk entered the Ultimate Fighting Championship in 2014, but before that, she had already won five Muay Thai World Championships for Poland. This remarkable technique practiced standing up makes extensive use of the whole body. This has aided Jedrzejczyk in becoming a devastating fighter, as she has won 10 of her fourteen bouts in the UFC Strawweight division thanks to her explosive style. Jedrzejczyk has been competing in the UFC for eight years, during which time she has beaten top-tier opponents, including Jessica Andrade and fellow Polish fighter Karolina Kowalkiewicz.

Marloes Coenen

Only Marloes Coenen has never fought in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The Dutch fighter retired in 2017 after eight years of competition in Strikeforce and Invicta FC. A 2009 victory against Roxanne Modafferi marked the beginning of Coenen’s professional MMA career for Strikeforce before she moved on to compete for Invicta FC and Bellator. Despite her lackluster performance in these two tournaments, Coenen improved her career record to 23 wins and 8 losses because of her three victories in Strikeforce.

Valentina Shevchenko

Still active after 22 victories, Valentina Shevchenko is regarded as the best female mixed martial arts fighter in the flyweight division. Shevchenko and Katlyn Chookagian are tied for the most championships in the UFC Women’s Flyweight Division. After beginning her fighting career in Kyrgyzstan, the half-Peruvian fighter moved to the UFC in 2015 and won her first bout. She entered the UFC with a record of 10-2, both defeats coming at the hands of Amanda Nunes. Shevchenko, a Peru citizen, has also fought as a boxer there.

These women are trendsetters, changing the platform and paving the way for other female fighters in the industry.

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